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Vatican Calls Catholic Politicians Into Line
Reuters ^ | 16 January 2003 | Reuters

Posted on 01/16/2003 6:48:56 AM PST by Petronski

Vatican Calls Catholic Politicians Into Line Thu January 16, 2003 09:18 AM ET

By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican told Catholic politicians on Thursday they must oppose laws on abortion, euthanasia and gay marriages and can not accept compromises on Church teachings when formulating policy or legislation.

The instructions were contained in new guidelines, which the Vatican said it was publishing now because recent "unsettling" scientific advances, such as embryo research, and social changes had made it necessary to clarify the Church's position again.

The document, called "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life," also turned the screws on Catholic publications, saying they could not put forward different views for the sake of pluralism.

The guidelines, which reaffirm traditional Church teachings, said Catholic politicians had to be reminded of them because of confusion that developed over Catholic doctrine.

The 17-page document said Catholics in political life "cannot compromise" in the name of tolerance, pluralism or freedom of choice when making or supporting legislation.

"Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society," said the document by the Vatican's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"Those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them," it said.

NO RECOGNITION FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The document, specifically approved by Pope John Paul, called for laws protecting the family, which it said had to be "based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability...

"In no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such," it added.

The Vatican is firmly opposed to recent moves aimed at legally recognizing same-sex marriages in several European countries and in North America.

The Netherlands has recognized registered gay partnerships since 1998 and it passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children in December 2000.

Several other European countries have given gays rights just short of those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

Asserting that fundamental moral laws were at stake, the document restated the Church's opposition to abortion and euthanasia and urged respect for the rights of the human embryo.

In an apparent reference to the dangers of cloning -- which the Church rejects along with stem-cell embryo research -- the document warned of potential laws that are "heedless of the consequences for the existence and future of human beings (and) attack the very inviolability of human life."

It also criticized Catholic organizations and publications in some countries for taking "ambiguous or incorrect" stands. Such bodies could not support political forces or movements with positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on ethical questions, the document said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: abortionlist; catholiclist; homosexualagenda; popepacksbags; prolife
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The AP story starts out this way:

The Vatican issued a new set of guidelines for Catholic politicians Thursday, reminding them to heed the church's "nonnegotiable" teachings on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and other issues when making public policy.

But I couldn't find a fully-quotable AP source for the story.

1 posted on 01/16/2003 6:48:56 AM PST by Petronski
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To: *Catholic_list
It's about time, isn't it?
2 posted on 01/16/2003 6:49:28 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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3 posted on 01/16/2003 6:49:57 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Polycarp
All it needs now is the 'teeth' of excommunication as an alternative.
4 posted on 01/16/2003 6:50:31 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski
Don't hold your breath....
5 posted on 01/16/2003 6:52:35 AM PST by netmilsmom (Partly cloudy because I'm a mom)
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To: Petronski
Right. I want to see the E-word.
6 posted on 01/16/2003 6:55:33 AM PST by The Old Hoosier (FMCDH)
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To: Petronski
Hey Teddie, hear that?
7 posted on 01/16/2003 6:56:49 AM PST by mc5cents
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To: Petronski
Long past time....
8 posted on 01/16/2003 6:57:51 AM PST by toenail
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To: nickcarraway
ping
9 posted on 01/16/2003 6:58:39 AM PST by Desdemona (Pitchers and Catchers report in 29 days. And it's snowing (whine))
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To: The Old Hoosier
I want to see the E-word.

Even that might not get their attention, but a few new "guidelines" in an obscure document surely won't do the trick.

10 posted on 01/16/2003 7:00:42 AM PST by madprof98
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To: Petronski
This is all very well, but in the end it all comes down to episcopal cojones. If AmChurch bishops are negligent or malfeasant -- and they are -- then the publication of "new" guidelines is like yelling in the face of a hurricane.
11 posted on 01/16/2003 7:05:05 AM PST by Romulus
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To: hobbes1; dubyaismypresident
i hope that they go great guns after this.
12 posted on 01/16/2003 7:08:16 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: xsmommy; dubyaismypresident
Like the above posters said, they should be under pain of
excommunication.
13 posted on 01/16/2003 7:18:19 AM PST by hobbes1 ( Vescere bracis meis)
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To: hobbes1
Of course, this probably will make it much tougher for Catholic politicians to get elected in this country, with the spectre of "divided loyalties" hanging over them like a sword of Damocles.
14 posted on 01/16/2003 7:21:05 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Petronski
It is about time. It may be too little too late, but it is a refreshing start. The question is, which politician does the Church make an example of first? Ted Kennedy is the biggest scum who comes in my mind!
15 posted on 01/16/2003 7:30:31 AM PST by Gerish
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: TonyRo76
There's another thread on the religion forum, thanks.

It would have been nice to see more teeth in it.
18 posted on 01/16/2003 7:35:00 AM PST by Desdemona (Pitchers and Catchers report in 29 days. And it's snowing (whine))
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To: madprof98
"a few new guidelines in an obscure document won't do the trick"

Absolutely true. Liberal Catholics don't give a damn what the pope says even when the guidelines aren't in obscure documents. Here in Seattle, Catholic churches routinely flout norms set by the Vatican. In many parts of the USA, there are parallel churches - the official church of traditional doctrine, and the actual church in which people do as they please. It is this latter church that created the climate conducive to all the sex scandals that have rocked the church.
19 posted on 01/16/2003 7:36:43 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Gerish
I agree -- until there are actually some visible consequences to these so-called Catholic politicians, this is just words on paper.
20 posted on 01/16/2003 7:37:49 AM PST by workerbee
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To: Desdemona
Is this already posted? I searched for it but could not find.
21 posted on 01/16/2003 7:38:17 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski
Religion forum, but I think it's a different article.
22 posted on 01/16/2003 7:39:09 AM PST by Desdemona (Pitchers and Catchers report in 29 days. And it's snowing (whine))
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: TonyRo76
Some bishops have been on the ball in the US: Archbishop Chaput in Denver was pretty clear in 2002 about pro-life candidates and whatnot, but the New Mexico folks backed down from saying Bill Richardson was pro-abortion.
24 posted on 01/16/2003 7:50:53 AM PST by JohnnyZ
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To: Petronski
I am sure this is going to straighten up Teddy. </sarcasm>
25 posted on 01/16/2003 7:57:13 AM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Petronski
"The Vatican told Catholic politicians on Thursday they must oppose laws on abortion, euthanasia and gay marriages and can not accept compromises"

So what's next?
The Seventh Day Adventists Church told their politicians on Thursday they must oppose blood banks and transfusions and can not accept compromises?

The Christian Scientist Mother Church told their politicians on Thursday they must oppose laws giving access to medical care because only prayer was appropriate and it can not accept compromises?

And late news from Rome,
"The Vatican told Catholic politicians on Thursday that war with Iraq was wrong and they must give Saddam a big wet kiss and can not accept compromises"?

26 posted on 01/16/2003 7:58:24 AM PST by APBaer
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To: APBaer
That conservative Catholic herself, Nancy Pelosi, must be shaking in her heels
27 posted on 01/16/2003 8:07:18 AM PST by Republican Red
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To: Petronski
About time...30 years coming but it is way overdue...the Left Angeles Times buried the story on page four but there was no mention of anything other than the abortion issue...no same sex marriage or euthanasia...
28 posted on 01/16/2003 8:18:02 AM PST by kellynla (cradle Catholic)
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To: Petronski
As a non-Catholic, my question is, what parts of "official Vatican pronouncements" are Catholics allowed to ignore? The Vatican's opposition to war in Iraq has already been noted. Are American Catholics free to follow their consciences on abortion but obey the Vatican on Iraq? Are they to follow their consciences on Iraq but avoid abortion?
29 posted on 01/16/2003 8:24:46 AM PST by valkyrieanne
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To: Petronski
The Vatican told Catholic politicians on Thursday they must oppose laws on abortion, euthanasia and gay marriages and can not accept compromises on Church teachings when formulating policy or legislation.

Hmmm .. Kennedy is about to be in a pickle perhaps ? Nahh ...

30 posted on 01/16/2003 8:27:35 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Darth Crackerhead)
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To: valkyrieanne
As a non-Catholic, my question is, what parts of "official Vatican pronouncements" are Catholics allowed to ignore?

We're not. The Iraq question is more a matter of the Vatican not being convinced completely there is a case for war and a request that all other avenues be exhausted before actually going to war.

The problem with this statement is that it lacks teeth. At the very least, public refusal to administer Communion to these politicians would have been a good idea.
31 posted on 01/16/2003 8:28:28 AM PST by Desdemona (Pitchers and Catchers report in 29 days. And it's snowing (whine))
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: valkyrieanne
In theory, Catholics are supposed to heed all Vatican pronouncements on moral issues, although not all of these pronouncements - such as the pope's views on Iraq - have the force of official doctrine. In practice, people can pretty much do what they want. "Excommunication" is very rare and is usually reserved for individuals who either (1) are members of the clery, or who hold a teaching position in a Catholic educational institution, and (2) who publically and persistently disagree with a basic church doctrine or moral teaching. Church teaching on abortion is unambiguous, whereas the pope's views on Iraq would be evaluated in terms of the church's "just war" teaching, and there is a lot more wiggle room there. It is extremely unlikely that any Catholic would be excommunicated over disagreement with the pope over America's Iraq policy.
33 posted on 01/16/2003 8:42:58 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Petronski
This is GREAT....

Now if all priests would take the same hard position and relay in the sermon that same doctrine we may actually start to turn things around.

34 posted on 01/16/2003 8:51:10 AM PST by mike_9958
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To: Petronski
My only concern is; doesn't the Catholic Church also oppose the Death Penalty? Will Liberal clergy use this same doctrine to go after conservative Catholics?
35 posted on 01/16/2003 9:06:31 AM PST by TexanAmerican
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To: dfwgator
Of course, this probably will make it much tougher for Catholic politicians to get elected in this country, with the spectre of "divided loyalties" hanging over them like a sword of Damocles.

Yeah, the Catholic Church (and the unborn) have gained so MUCH from the election of Daschle, Kennedy (any Kennedy), Cuomo, Moynihan, Kerry, Markey, Mikulski, Morella, and all those hundreds of other great Catholics.

36 posted on 01/16/2003 9:28:40 AM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: madprof98
I'd lay a hefty bet right now you couldn't find one currently pro-abortion elected official of either party in the heavily Catholic yet heavily pro-choice Northeast who would obey Church teaching if it threatened their power.

They'd choose excommunication and wallow in would surely be the laudits of their pro-abortion constituents for standing up to the "intolerant" Church.

37 posted on 01/16/2003 9:32:50 AM PST by winin2000
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To: Petronski
Teddy! Calling Teddy Kennedy! Come in Teddy!
38 posted on 01/16/2003 1:45:25 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: Lady In Blue; Desdemona; Siobhan; NYer; Salvation; Aunt Polgara; Flying Circus
ping
39 posted on 01/16/2003 1:50:16 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Petronski
These pro-choice politicians have already ex-comminicated themselves.
40 posted on 01/16/2003 2:08:03 PM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
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To: Petronski
Something tells me that the Kennedys feel safe since they've been buying their stairway to heaven.
41 posted on 01/16/2003 2:13:44 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Someone left the cake out in the rain I dont think that I can take it coz it took so long to bake it)
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To: AKA Elena; american colleen; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Aristophanes; ArrogantBustard; Askel5; ...
big big pope ping
42 posted on 01/16/2003 2:48:38 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Petronski
Trying to head off the "I'd like to see you in my office" from God?

Never too late to make a comeback!

My prayers for the Catholics, their Pope and their Church.

43 posted on 01/16/2003 2:49:18 PM PST by Caipirabob (These tag lines are gonna get me in big trouble soon, I just know it!)
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To: Coleus
Ping
44 posted on 01/16/2003 2:50:03 PM PST by MattinNJ
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To: Petronski
Wow! Ted Kennedy has only been a Senator for 30 some odd years. Remarkably fast response to liberalism!
45 posted on 01/16/2003 2:52:40 PM PST by AlGone2001
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To: Petronski
OK, so they told politicians to do what they should always have done. Or else what? I'll believe the Vatican means what it says when it causes such politicians to pay a heavy price for their unfaithfulness. I don't see that anywhere.
46 posted on 01/16/2003 3:02:55 PM PST by yendu bwam
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To: yendu bwam
I believe the stage is being set. When this pope dies the next pope will crack down hard, pointing to the legacy of the most popular and beloved pope in centuries (JP2).

He will crack down claiming that it is all to honor the correct teachings of a man whom everyone knows was a saint.
47 posted on 01/16/2003 3:14:03 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: LiteKeeper
"I am sure this is going to straighten up Teddy"

It would be fun to send it off to him though!
48 posted on 01/16/2003 3:21:37 PM PST by Domestic Church (it would be fun to tape it on his door as well)
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To: Petronski
EWTNews
16-Jan-2003 -- Vatican Information Service

NOTE ON THE PARTICIPATION OF CATHOLICS IN POLITICAL LIFE

VATICAN CITY, JAN 16, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was a Doctrinal Note On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. It is addressed to the bishops of the Catholic Church and to all the lay faithful called to participate in the public and political life of democratic societies.

The Note, dated November 24, 2002, Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, is signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., respectively prefect and secretary of the dicastery. The text has been published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese and consists of four chapters and a conclusion.

Following are excerpts from the document:

"I. A CONSTANT TEACHING. The commitment of Christians in the world has found a variety of expressions in the course of the past 2000 years. One such expression has been Christian involvement in political life. ... Among the saints, the Church venerates many men and women who served God through their generous commitment to politics and government. Among these, Saint Thomas More, who was proclaimed Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, gave witness by his martyrdom to 'the inalienable dignity of the human conscience'. ... He taught by his life and his death that 'man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality'. ... By fulfilling their civic duties, 'guided by a Christian conscience', in conformity with its values, the lay faithfully exercise their proper task of infusing the temporal order. ... The present Note does not seek to set out the entire teaching of the Church on this matter, which is summarized in its essentials in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but intends only to recall some principles proper to the Christian conscience, which inspire the social and political involvement of Catholics in democratic societies."

"II. CENTRAL POINTS IN THE CURRENT CULTURAL AND POLITICAL DEBATE. A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defense of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law. Furthermore, it is not unusual to hear the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy."

"Such relativism, of course, has nothing to do with the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good. Political freedom is not ? and cannot be ? based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person's good have the same value and truth. ... If Christians must 'recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs', they are also called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society. ... The democratic structures on which the modern state is based would be quite fragile were its foundation not the centrality of the human person. It is respect for the person that makes democratic participation possible."

"Scientific progress has resulted in advances that are unsettling for the consciences of men and women and call for solutions that respect ethical principles in a coherent and fundamental way. ... John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a 'grave and clear obligation to oppose' any law that attacks human life. For them and for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them. ... In this context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine."

"When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands ... what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person. This is the case with laws concerning abortion and euthanasia (not to be confused with the decision to forgo extraordinary treatments, which is morally legitimate). Such laws must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death. In the same way, it is necessary to recall the duty to respect and protect the rights of the human embryo. Analogously, the family needs to be safeguarded and promoted, based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability in the face of modern laws on divorce: in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such." "Regarding the education of their children, it is an inalienable right recognized also by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. In the same way, one must consider society's protection of minors and freedom from modern forms of slavery (drug abuse and prostitution, for example). In addition, there is the right to religious freedom and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person and of the common good, with respect for social justice, the principles of human solidarity and subsidiarity. ... Finally the question of peace must be mentioned. ... Peace is always 'the work of justice and the effect of charity'. It demands absolute and radical rejection of violence and terrorism and requires a constant and vigilant commitment on the part of all political leaders."

"III. PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC DOCTRINE ON THE AUTONOMY OF THE TEMPORAL ORDER AND ON PLURALISM. While a plurality of methodologies reflective of different sensibilities and cultures can be legitimate in approaching such questions, no Catholic can appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements. ... The appeal often made to 'the rightful autonomy of the participation of lay Catholics' in politics needs to be clarified. ... For Catholic moral doctrine, the rightful autonomy of the political or civil sphere from that of religion and the Church ? but not from that of morality - is a value that has been attained and recognized by the Catholic Church and belongs to the inheritance of contemporary civilization. ... The right and duty of Catholics and all citizens to seek the truth with sincerity and to promote and defend, by legitimate means, moral truths concerning society, justice, freedom, respect for human life and the other rights of the person, is something quite different. The fact that some of these truths may also be taught by the Church does not lessen the political legitimacy or the rightful 'autonomy' of the contribution of those citizens who are committed to them, irrespective of the role that reasoned inquiry or confirmation by the Christian faith may have played in recognizing such truths. ... It would be a mistake to confuse the proper autonomy exercised by Catholics in political life with the claim of a principle that prescinds from the moral and social teaching of the Church."

"Living and acting in conformity with one's own conscience on questions of politics is not slavish acceptance of positions alien to politics or some kind of confessionalism, but rather the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person. ... Those who, on the basis of respect for individual conscience, would view the moral duty of Christians to act according to their conscience as something that disqualifies them from political life, denying the legitimacy of their political involvement following from their convictions about the common good, would be guilty of a form of intolerant secularism."

"IV. CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PARTICULAR ASPECTS. In recent years, there have been cases within some organizations founded on Catholic principles, in which support has been given to political forces or movements with positions contrary to the moral and social teaching of the Church on fundamental ethical questions ... [that] are not compatible with membership in organizations or associations which define themselves as Catholic. ... It is insufficient and reductive to think that the commitment of Catholics in society can be limited to a simple transformation of structures, because if at the basic level there is no culture capable of receiving, justifying and putting into practice positions deriving from faith and morals, the changes will always rest on a weak foundation. ... In a society in which truth is neither mentioned nor sought, every form of authentic exercise of freedom will be weakened, opening the way to libertine and individualistic distortions and undermining the protection of the good of the human person and of the entire society."

"In this regard, it is helpful to recall a truth which today is often not perceived or formulated correctly in public opinion: the right to freedom of conscience and, in a special way, to religious freedom, taught in the Declaration 'Dignitatis humanae' of the Second Vatican Council, is based on the ontological dignity of the human person and not on a non-existent equality among religions or cultural systems of human creation. ... The teaching on freedom of conscience and on religious freedom does not therefore contradict the condemnation of indifferentism and religious relativism by Catholic doctrine; on the contrary, it is fully in accord with it."

"V. CONCLUSION. The principles contained in the present Note are intended to shed light on one of the most important aspects of the unity of Christian life: coherence between faith and life, Gospel and culture, as recalled by the Second Vatican Council."



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49 posted on 01/16/2003 3:21:45 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Centurion2000
"Hmmm .. Kennedy is about to be in a pickle perhaps ? Nahh ..."

This certainly will make the decision on the next Cardinal in Boston *very* interesting.
50 posted on 01/16/2003 3:25:07 PM PST by Domestic Church
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